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ISL Weekly Transfer Round-Up: Mumbai City kick start announcements, East Bengal, Kerala Blasters updates and more

ISL Weekly Transfer Round-Up: Mumbai City kick start announcements, East Bengal, Kerala Blasters updates and more


Published: 14 Oct 2020 8:32 AM GMT

As the Indian football transfer window approaches its deadline, October 20th, Indian Super League (ISL) clubs have little time to wrap up their business, especially their international signings. Here’s our round-up of every major move that transpired last week:

# Mumbai City, East Bengal kick start announcements

Finally, after months of waiting, Mumbai City FC and ISL new boys SC East Bengal kick started their official announcements last week.

East Bengal led the way by announcing Liverpool legend and Premier League’s 7th highest all-time goal scorer, Robbie Fowler, as their head coach. However, much to the disappointment of the fans, the official statement only came in the form of a media press release and not via a flashy social media post, as is the norm these days. Along with Fowler, the names of the entire backroom staff were also announced.


The Red and Golds quickly followed up Fowler’s announcement with another one, this time a foreign player in Scott Neville. One of Australia’s top defenders, who primarily plays as a right back but can also slot in at centre back, Neville recently signed a contract extension with his parent club Brisbane Roar. However, East Bengal has managed to convince the Aussie to spend one year in the ISL on loan under the tutelage of Fowler.

It was no secret that City Football Group-backed Mumbai City FC had roped in former FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera as their head coach for the new ISL season. The news was finally announced by the Islanders this weekend, much to the relief of the fans. It was also announced that Lobera would be assisted by Jesús Tato and fitness and conditioning coach, Manuel Sayabera, both of whom were earlier a part of the support staff at FC Goa.

Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters FC finally sealed the signing of Chennaiyin FC announced the signing of Portuguese forward Esmaël Gonçalves, better known as Isma, on a free transfer. The 29-year-old, who was plying his trade at Japanese club Matsumoto Yamaga last season, has experience playing in UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and AFC Asian Champions League. Odisha FC also announced Cole Alexander’s signing, their 7th and final foreigner for this season’s squad.

# The Rumour Mill — Who is coming, who ain't?

anthony Athony Pilkington (Source: SkySports)

With deadline day fast approaching, the number of rumours in the market have gone up like anything. East Bengal, leads the race in this case as well, have been linked a host of stars from Danny Fox, Anthony Pilkington (two deals that look extremely likely to happen), Anthony Stokes (unlikely), Jay O Shea (not happening) and even A-League star Jamie Maclaren. In fact, reports state that the Kolkata giants have completed six foreign signings and only announcements are pending.

Maclaren, 27, has been strongly linked with a move to India this summer with several clubs enquiring after him. However, The Bridge can confirm that the Aussie forward, who is a marquee player at Melbourne City FC, will not join an ISL club anytime soon. Maclaren has a long-term contract until 2022 (one source claimed 2023) and is currently paid much higher than any of the top strikers in India (read, Roy Krishna, Adam Le Fondre, Gary Hooper, etc.).

Kerala Blasters meanwhile have been linked with Australian centre-back Jordan Elsey and Slovenian striker Luka Majcen but again, no source was able to confirm these with conviction at the moment.

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